Regional Assembly Of Delegates Receives Update on Local Water Laboratory

BARSTABLE- In a recent meeting by the Cape Cod Regional Government Assembly of Delegates, the assembly was joined by Sean O’Brien, Director of the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment (BCDHE) to discuss updates on the County Water Quality laboratory.

The BCDHE laboratory is certified to test drinking water, bathing beaches, groundwater and wastewater in order to protect the public from exposure to environmental and anthropogenic contaminants.

O’Brien reported that the laboratory has stayed open through the majority of the COVID pandemic, noting its standing as an essential service.

O’Brien discussed the need for updated equipment as they test for bacterial contaminants and industrial contaminants such as PFAS in Cape Cod.

A primary target is the acquisition of a new liquid chromatography dual mass spectrophotometer (or LCMS) which can detect small quantities of polyfluorinated compounds. The laboratory has been using an older, less sophisticated model for the last few years.

Several delegates expressed support for acquisition of the new device.

“What’s more effective, to have a person standing in front of the instrument injecting a sample, or having an automatic sampler that can run fifty samples?’ said O’Brien. “And those are the things that we look at.”

The assembly also discussed the creation of a database to allow easy access to information such as beach shutdowns due to bacterial contamination.

“Our goal, quite honestly, is to try to make testing available to everybody. We want to make sure that we’re providing really good support to our local water departments,” said O’Brien.

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